Since the U.S. women took the soccer field in 1985, the team has won four World Cups. The last time the men’s team has reached a semifinal was 1930.
Despite the success of the U.S. women’s national team, the players were routinely paid less than their male counterparts. The players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in 2019 on the heels of winning their second straight World Cup title.
Now they have another kind of victory. U.S. Soccer agreed in February 2022 to pay $24 million to settle a discrimination dispute with the team. The players will split $22 million. The remaining $2 million will be used to establish a fund to support the players in their post-soccer careers. The fund will also support charitable efforts to expand the sport for women.
The agreement also includes a commitment to adjust pay and bonuses to match the men’s team.
Original Complaint Filed in 2016
Five U.S. women’s team players initiated a legal battle when they filed a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. The filing posited that U.S. Soccer was breaking federal law by not offering the women players equal compensation with the players on the men’s team.
Using 2015 figures from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the EEOC complaint said the women were paid four times less than men despite bringing in almost $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team.
In 2019, the players sued under the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. One year later, a U.S. district judge threw out the part of the lawsuit seeking compensation equal to the players on the men’s team. The women’s team had planned to make arguments before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to have the district judge’s decision reversed.
This $24 million settlement closes the legal case. The two sides settled the portion of the complaint related to working conditions in December 2020.
CBA Negotiations Continue into April 2022
The team and U.S. Soccer announced in December 2021 that they were extending talks to come to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The original deadline for a new labor deal was Dec. 31, 2021, but both sides agreed to set a new deadline of March 31, 2022.
As of this writing, no new agreement has been announced. Until that time, the terms of the expiring agreement will stay in effect. Both sides have agreed to continue conversations in April 2022 and reach an agreement as soon as possible.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement, “The discussions, which have included equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money and a first-ever framework for revenue sharing as part of each respective labor agreement, are complex and require significant due diligence from all parties. Nevertheless, we feel we are closer to reaching agreements on these issues than ever before.”
Pay Discrimination Found in All Industries
The pay gap between men and women is found in every industry. Workplace discrimination can take many forms, including pay, promotions, assignments, benefits, and more. At Shellist Lazarz Slobin, our sole focus is on civil litigation covering many areas of employment law.
Discrimination can also be based on any of the following:
- Genetic Information
- National Origin
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
If you are encountering discrimination at work, contact the experienced attorneys at Shellist Lazarz Slobin. We are experienced in handling administrative hearings, negotiating a settlement agreement, and filing lawsuits in state courts, U.S. district courts, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schedule an initial consultation about your labor or employment matter by calling (713) 352-3433. You also can reach us online.